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Archive for March, 2009

Falcons and Vick reach compromise

March 31st, 2009 Comments off

WDBJ of Roanoke reports that the Falcons and Michael Vick have reached a compromise deal about the amount of money he owes to the team. The Falcons have been embroiled in a legal battle about money Vick owes back to the team due to his breach of contract stemming from his incarceration from dogfighting.

The Falcons sought to reclaim close to $20 million in bonus money, and won the initial ruling by an arbitrator. But that ruling was overtuned and Vick was only liable to repay $3.75 million. The Falcons and the league have been in the process of challenging that second ruling.

WDBJ reports that the compromise is $7.5 million. That would be twice the amount of money initially expected to be reclaimed by the team.

Vick is currently in bankruptcy court.

UPDATE: The AJC reports that based on a ruling later this year by the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, will determine whether Vick repays the Falcons $6.5 million or $7.5 million.

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Falcons preseason schedule announced

March 30th, 2009 Comments off

The NFL announced the Falcons preseason schedule.

They will open their preseason on the road against the Detroit Lions. Following that will be another road game against the St. Louis Rams. Their preseason home opener will be next, as the face the San Diego Chargers in a primetime game on CBS. The final preseason game will come against the Baltimore Ravens at home.

Specific dates and times will be determined at a later date when the team’s regular season schedule is announced at some point in early to mid-April.

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Falcons high on Delmas

March 29th, 2009 Comments off

Pro Football Weekly is reporting that in their Whispers section that the Falcons are high on Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas. It was reported this past week by Scout.com that Delmas is scheduled for a visit with the team on April 10.

Per PFW’s report, the Falcons are hopeful that one of the top pass rushers in the draft fall to them with the No. 24 overall pick in the first round. And while they like Delmas as a prospect, they don’t necessarily feel he merits a first round pick, making it possible they could trade down from their pick in order to take him.

Delmas is considered undersized by NFL safety standards at 5’11″ 202 pounds, but is noted for his on-field intelligence and ballhawking abilities. He was a four-year starter at Western Michigan, culminating in a senior year where he led the team with 111 tackles and 4 interceptions, also adding 7 passes defended and 4 tackles for loss.

He is rated as the top safety in the draft by NFL.com’s Mike Mayock and Draft Countdown’s Scott Wright. ESPN’s Mel Kiper rates him as the second best safety.

PFW also reports that the Falcons aren’t expected to use a high pick on the cornerback position, due to confidence in Chevis Jackson and/or Von Hutchins to fill the void left by departing free agent cornerback Domonique Foxworth in the starting lineup. Brent Grimes, who started 6 games last year before Foxworth took over, will also be involved in the competition.

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Dahl tops team’s performance-based pay chart

March 24th, 2009 Comments off

Brian McIntyre of FalconInsider.com reports that Falcons guard Harvey Dahl received the most on the team as far as the league’s performance-based pay roll. Annually, the league rewards players with low salaries that earn significant playing time.

Dahl earned the most on the team with $255,938. He started every game at right guard after having earned $445,000 in his regular base salary.

Second on the list was right tackle Tyson Clabo, who pocketed $254,297 adding to his $445,000 base salary as well.

FalconInsider.com lists ten other players’ extra payouts:

Kroy Biermann, DE – $162,469
Justin Blalock, OG – $144,273
Harry Douglas, WR – $112,217
Brent Grimes, CB – $189,409
Chris Houston, CB – $139, 921
Chevis Jackson, CB – $122,031
Justin Peelle, TE – $123,329
Marcus Pollard, TE – $1,386
Jason Snelling, RB – $121,308
Coy Wire, LB – $113,837

Pollard’s was the lowest on the team.

Falcons get three back from injury

March 24th, 2009 Comments off

The AJC reports that three Falcons have been cleared to participate as the team opens off-season workouts today. Those three were injured last season and include running back Thomas Brown, linebacker Robert James, and defensive tackle Trey Lewis.

Both Brown and James were draft picks last year, but were injured during camp and missed their rookie seasons. Brown is expected to add depth at running back while James is expected to see time as a reserve outside linebacker.

Lewis is probably the most significant return. Lewis suffered an injury midway through the 2007 season and re-aggravated the injury last off-season, forcing him to miss the entire season. With the loss of free agent Grady Jackson to the Detroit Lions this off-season, there is a void at nose tackle which a healthy Lewis may be able to fill. He replaced Jackson as the starter for 5 games in 2007 before his injury.

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Smith to decide soon on Falcons or Lions

March 15th, 2009 Comments off

Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that prospective free agent tight end L.J. Smith will come to a decision soon about where he will go. The choices have been narrowed to Atlanta or Detroit for Smith, the only two teams he has visited thus far in the free agency period. The Falcons interest in Smith was first reported in February, and he followed up with a visit to the team earlier this month.

Bowen speculates that the Falcons have the inside track due to them being the better team. Smith, 28, caught 37 passes for the Eagles last season. He’s battled injuries, missing a total of 10 games in the past two seasons.

UPDATE: ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinkas reports that Smith is expected to sign with the Falcons, citing a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Brookover. Brookover’s source appears to be Smith himself.

UPDATE NO. 2: D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that the Falcons have opted not to continue their pursuit of Smith. Ledbetter cites a source with knowledge of the team’s negotiations. Per the source, Smith “dragged his feet” and the Falcons thusly had a “change of heart.”

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Smith attends GA Tech Pro Day

March 10th, 2009 Comments off

Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports that the Falcons head coach Mike Smith was spotted at Georgia Tech’s pro day on Tuesday. Smith joined Carolina’s John Fox as the lone head coaches to be seen at the pro day. The AJC reports that Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff was in attendance as well.

Among the prominent prospects working out at the pro day were Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson, defensive tackles Darryl Richard and Vance Walker, offensive tackle Andrew Gardner, and cornerback Jahi Word-Daniels.

Johnson ran 40 times of 4.61 and 4.64 per Brandt, although the AJC reports a fastest time of 4.59. The 6’7″ 266-pound pass rusher also did 23 bench reps of 225 pounds.

According to NFL.com’s results, Richard (6’3″ 297) had a 26-inch vertical leap and did 19 bench reps. Vance Walker (6’2″ 304) didn’t participate in drills due to a hamstring injury. Gardner (6’6″ 305) ran 40 times of 4.96 and 4.99 with a 30.5-inch vertical leap. Word-Daniels (6′ 191) had 40 times of 4.59 and 4.64 seconds with a 38-inch vertical.

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Peterson signs with Falcons

March 10th, 2009 Comments off

Steve Wyche of NFL.com reports that the Falcons signed free agent linebacker Mike Peterson on Monday night, after he visited the team earlier that day. Wyche reports that Peterson agreed to a three-year deal, while the AJC and ESPN report that it was a two-year deal.

Peterson is expected to play one of the outside linebacker spots. Earlier in his career with the Indianapolis Colts he played on the weakside. For the past six seasons in Jacksonville with the Jaguars he manned the middle linebacker position, although the Falcons already have promising second-year player Curtis Lofton there. Peterson was benched last year due to some conflicts with the coaching staff. When he returned the lineup later in the year, he did play some on the strongside. Peterson’s experience, versatility, and his experience with many of the Falcons coaching staff is likely what attracted the two parties.

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Jags’ Peterson will visit Falcons

March 9th, 2009 Comments off

The AJC reports that free agent linebacker Mike Peterson, formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars, is set to visit the Falcons later this week, with no specific date. Peterson is an experienced veteran that has a connection to the current Falcons coaching staff since head coach Mike Smith and several assistants were assistants in Jacksonville from five seasons prior to landing in Atlanta in 2008.

Peterson, 32, has served as the Jaguars starting linebacker for the past six seasons. His production has declined sharply in the past three seasons. During his first three seasons (2003-05) in Jacksonville, he averaged 120 tackles annually, and totaled 12 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, 16 passes defended, and 6 interceptions. In the past three seasons (2006-08), he has averaged 62 tackles annually, total 3 sacks, no forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 4 passes defended, and 2 interceptions. Part of the decline in production has come from injuries, having missed a combined 17 games in 2006 and 2007. He was also benched for a time last season for clashing with the Jaguars coaching staff.

Prior to joining Jacksonville, he played four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, serving as an outside linebacker. Due to the strong play of rookie Curtis Lofton last year, it would seem likely that the Falcons are looking for Peterson to return to his former position on the outside. The Falcons have lost both starting outside linebackers, Keith Brooking and Michael Boley, this off-season and looking for replacements. Peterson spent most of his Colt career playing the weakside, just like Brooking.

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Romberg first free agent added to Falcons

March 9th, 2009 Comments off

The Falcons announced their first free agent signing since the signing period began on February 27 with the news that former St. Louis Rams center Brett Romberg signed with the team today. Romberg first visited with the team last Thursday, but with reports that other teams were showing interest the Falcons were able to get him signed.

Terms of Romberg’s contract are not yet known. Romberg has started 18 career games, all of which came in the past two seasons with the Rams. In 2006 and 2007, he played under current Falcons offensive line coach Paul Boudreau with the Rams. He also played under Boudreau when he was an assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-05. Romberg originally began his career with the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent out of Miami (FL) in 2003. He never played a game with the Jaguars, splitting time on the practice squad and active roster during that span.

Romberg is likely expected to fill a reserve role to Todd McClure. He is the fourth center on the roster, joining McClure, Alex Stepanovich, and Ben Wilkerson. It is possible that one or more of those players will move to guard on the depth chart.

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